Atascadero CA – August 2011… As is the case for many houses of worship, the main sanctuary at Atascadero Bible Church is both absolutely beautiful and acoustically challenging. Redwood paneling lines the back of the stage from the floor all the way up to the twenty-five-foot-high ceilings—also made of acoustically-untreated California redwood. The back wall, composed of dry wall with no acoustic paneling, rests sixty feet beyond the front of the stage and angles inwards at the sides, acting as a reflector plate for acoustic energy and potentially leading to significant challenges with feedback and speech intelligibility.
But with the hard work and expertise of Joey Halderman, Technical Director of Student Ministries, the worshippers attending this unique non-denominational church every week experience nothing but outstanding sound quality. Each Sunday, Atascadero Bible Church offers three live worship services plus a video â€˜overflow' service that features a live worship team. While the first service each week is traditional in nature and serves a congregation of roughly 170 people, the remaining services are contemporary in nature and serve upwards of 1,500 worshippers. For all services, Halderman ensures the highest level of speech intelligibility and vocal projection for the worship leaders using the Countryman E6i Omni earset microphone. Similarly, the musical instruments feed the house audio system via Countryman Type 10 direct boxes.
In addition to training and managing a team of volunteers, Halderman oversees all A/V equipment and technical aspects related to the student ministries, including sound, lighting, and video. He is also the primary student ministries worship leader. Simply put, Halderman has his hands full! He discussed the audio challenges he must contend with and the reasons for using the Countryman E6i microphones.
“The main worship center area fans out from the stage with approximately a 120-degree spread at a distance of 60 feet from the stage,” Halderman explained. “To cover this area, we have two 15-inch, 2-way loudspeaker clusters flown on each side of the stage. This layout can be prone to feedback issues with lower quality microphones, but the Countryman E6i provides terrific gain before feedback—enabling us to achieve the levels we require.”
Halderman reports they have several E6i earset microphones that are used each week in the worship center. Two E6i earset microphones are used for the junior high and high school services while four E6i earset microphones are used in the church's multiuse room. “Both our senior and youth pastors wear the E6i and love it,” says Halderman. “Its small size is very discreet and the secure fit instills confidence. There's nothing more distracting than an earset mic that moves about while you're trying to focus on the message.”
“Over the years,” Halderman continued, “our church has tried many different microphones, with some models yielding better results than others. None have worked as well as our Countryman microphones. Their sound quality, clarity, and ability to deliver the levels we need in any situation have made Countryman the microphone of choice for every application.”
Patching musical instruments such as guitar, bass, or keyboards into a production console can easily be another live sound challenge. If not managed properly, the Hi-Z unbalanced to Lo-Z balanced conversion process creates distortion and other audible anomalies. To address these matters, Halderman relies on Countryman Type 10 direct boxes. “We have three Type 10 direct boxes that we use each week,” Halderman said. “They're amazing! As our budget allows, I will be replacing every direct box in our facility with these. They are really clean and don't tweak the sound quality in any way. You get the pure, unaltered tone coming from your instrument.”
Countryman microphones and direct boxes have been a staple at Atascadero Bible Church for the past four years. During that time, Halderman and his team have come to rely on Countryman products and the company's stellar reputation for customer service. “We've encountered very few issues with any of our Countryman products,” Halderman notes, “and whenever we've required assistance, Countryman's customer and technical support services have been terrific. The company has consistently been very supportive and responsive.”
Halderman summed up his experience using Countryman products with the following thought, “I am very thankful for our Countryman equipment. Having quality products that work consistently is very reassuring when you're in charge of so much equipment. It's great to know that when I plug in a mic or patch in an instrument, it's not only going to work, it's going to sound exactly as it should!”
To learn more about Atascadero Bible Church, visit them online at www.abcchurch.org.
About the Countryman E6i Omni earset microphone and the Type 10 Direct Box
The Countryman E6i Omni earset microphone incorporates the company's smallest microphone capsule on an even smaller boom that is rugged, flexible, and incredibly lightweight. Practically invisible, this popular microphone is an industry staple for broadcast and live sound applications. The Countryman Type 10 direct box achieves the highest signal-to-noise ratio, the lowest phase deviation, and lowest distortion of any direct box currently available.
About Countryman Associates
For more than 30 years, Countryman has focused on developing microphones and accessories that deliver maximum gain before feedback, with the highest possible rejection of wind, vibration, interference, and other unwanted sounds. The result is warm, clear vocals in speaking and singing applications, delivering natural audio reinforcement that requires almost no attention from the sound engineer or the performer. For additional information about Countryman Associates, visit the company online at www.countryman.com.
Photo Info: Tom Ferrell, senior pastor at Atascadero Bible Church.